A patent is a crucial form of protection for any business that has invested substantially in the creation of a new software program, the development of a new plant through selective breeding or any other product or process that gives that business a competitive advantage.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reviews requests from individual inventors and companies to protect their new concepts. These applications describe the new idea that the patent would protect. After reviewing the concept itself and existing patents in the same area, the USPTO then determines if it will approve an application and grant a patent.
Once you have a patent, you won’t have to worry about any of your competitors using your original concept without first licensing it from you and compensating you accordingly. How long will it take you to go from applying to having an enforceable patent?
Application review is a lengthy process
The USPTO receives thousands of submissions that it has to thoroughly review for conflicts with existing patents before approval. The entire process is a very lengthy one. Businesses typically wait more than a year before they have even the initial response from the USPTO related to the patent.
The total time to the completion of the application processing as of late 2022 will be 24.9 months or just over two years. Of course, it may be possible for competitors to start developing similar concepts or products during that time.
Will the delay harm your business?
A pending patent still protects your company. The good news for your company is that there are some protections available when you have a patent pending. The other is that any competitor who hopes to patent similar concepts will face the same delays and processing times that you do.
You can even release a product to the public with packaging advertising the pending patent application your company submitted. So long as you submitted your request first, you should not have to worry about a competitor securing a patent for the same idea. Of course, your risks of making mistakes, encountering delays or failing to get a patent increase if you don’t have the right support.
Connecting with the right representation can make a big difference for a business hoping to prosecute a patent.